Two years ago, in the early evening of April 6, phones began ringing and social media accounts registered mounting concern as word of a mishap with the Humboldt Broncos’ bus spread. The bus carrying the Broncos team, its coach and training staff, and broadcast members was on its way to a rendez-vous with the Nipawin Hawks. 

As the evening went on, details emerged that would shake parents, wives, families, communities and ultimately an entire province and country to its collective core. The news was much more immediate for first responders from Nipawin, Tisdale and surrounding communities who responded to the event. 

Two years later, there is little need to recount the details of the Humboldt Broncos accident on its anniversary. The accident’s investigation, the trial, the sentencing, and the impact on the families, friends, and supporters are all well documented. What remains is the ongoing memory of the tragic day, along with the memory of the lives and the contributions those passengers of the Broncos bus made in their respective circles. The two year anniversary allows us to reflect on the courage and grace with which the survivors have faced challenges and their individual struggles and pursuits to recover and to thrive in their new worlds.

People are asked to pause and remember the 2017-18 Broncos team and their families and loved ones on a day when an unprecedented global challenge has swept aside so many happenings in the world like blown chaff. In our pandemic focussed world, news of labour disputes, electioneering, partisanship, sporting events, and in fact most facets of life that once consumed our attention are little more than background noise.

It’s also a world which, by absolute necessity, demands that we be physically apart from each other in a time when our greatest instinct might be to band together.  However, as everyone from the government to mental health experts reminds us, physical isolation does not mean social isolation. Technologies that bring people together on a daily basis can help us to communicate the love, respect, and compassion we feel at this two-year stage.

What needs to resurface now is our recognition of the courageous movement forward of the Bronco survivors and of the families of those who lost loved ones in finding agency by launching movements and supporting important causes. We recognize the striving of players like Jacob Wassermann and Ryan Straschnitzki in new areas of sport. We applaud the efforts of Morgan Gobeil in working toward his best results in his rehabilitation.

All of the Bronco families remain in our hearts for their courage and their spirit of service. The Thomas and Brons families have worked tirelessly to see changes brought to the trucking industry. While the relaxation of regulations governing the transport industry in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic may seem a disappointment, the recognition by legislators of the importance of safety changes will no doubt see a return to industry safeguards. 

The Herold Family honours Adam with their regional hockey camps. Dayna Brons’ history as a blood donor led to new programs with Canadian Blood Services. Celeste Leray-Leicht launched the outreach movement “Northern Lights for Kids”.

Logan Boulet’s selfless organ donation led to the national phenomenon known as the “Logan Boulet Effect” and Green Shirt Day to be celebrated on April 7. This year’s event will be an online presence, but the Boulet family and partnering agencies carry on these important traditions. This is not an exhaustive list of the generous gifts and heartfelt efforts of the families and supporters to better their communities and their world. That list too has been documented and all of the contributions, personal triumphs, and aspirations for the future need to be celebrated.

The City of Humboldt and the surrounding communities that nurtured the team and its staff have emerged two years later transformed in some respect by the event. The region’s well-touted “Humboldt Strong” messaging became a mantra through the darkest times in the shadow of the tragedy. It’s become a source of solace and a well of resolve through the past two years. 

The City of Humboldt recognized the importance of remembering on the anniversary. Mayor Muench issued a proclamation declaring April 6 to be 2917-2018 Humboldt Broncos Day. The City has arranged a virtual display of a sampling of the gifts and expressions of love sent to Humboldt over the last two years. A compiled photo display of Bronco billets and families will also appear on the page thanks to local volunteers. That display is available at

The bells of St. Augustine Church will toll at approximately 4:50 on April 6. The chimes will mark the approximate time of the accident. Bells may well toll in other communities.

It’s the strength of these people - survivors, parents, families, billets, friends, and loved ones, colleagues, supporters, first responders, health care providers - that have helped us all to arrive, two years later, humbled but still standing and all with the resolve to move forward. We also look to the spirits of those lost in the tragedy for strength as an extension of the power and meaning in each of their lives. 

April 6 is also the next day in a disrupted and unsettled world as everyone on the planet collectively moves forward. The demands placed on many of us are simple: stay home, maintain safe distance practices, wash our hands, avoid gathering even when compelled to do so. There are others who continue to serve in health centres, long term care homes, essential services retail outlets, and on our nation's highways who are being asked to do much more. All of these activities are undertaken with courage, a spirit of sacrifice, and always a resolve to move forward. 

In times like these, we can find no better examples of these attributes than our 2017-18 Broncos and their extended families. In the midst of the uncertainty that swirls around us, please take a moment on April 6 to simply remember.